Your experience at work every day is likely different from that of your coworkers. This could be because of where you’re from, your age, gender, or any one of the many factors that make you unique. These things that make us who we are can also lead to inequities—not just differences—in the way we experience the workplace.

Diversity & inclusion training in the workplace through Udemy for Business is one way to tackle unconscious bias and change behavior. However, the first step is to understand how unconscious bias and diversity affects individuals at work.

In an effort to understand and call out these inequities, Culture Amp created the Diversity and Inclusion survey in partnership with Paradigm. In the past three years, over a hundred companies in North America, Asia, and Europe have gathered diversity and inclusion feedback through Culture Amp. This year, we published our most recent analysis in our Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality report.

It’s this idea of intersectionality—that our demographic traits intersect to create complex identities—that greatly influences the employee experience. In our report we found that the employee experience is not equal, highlighting three areas with great disparity—voice, decision making, and fairness. Here, we’ll examine these aspects of the employee experience and how you can take action with learning and development resources.

Voicing a contrary opinion

Freedom of speech is more than just the first amendment of the US constitution. It’s something we all need, no matter where we live, to feel like we belong and our ideas are respected.

One of the questions on Culture Amp’s inclusion survey is:
I can voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences

We found that Black women felt least able to voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences. Latinx women and LGBTQ women also scored low on this question.

Voicing a contrary opinion can make us feel vulnerable, so it’s important that workplaces support the sharing of opinions in healthy and productive ways. When people don’t feel like they can voice their opinion, your company is missing out on potentially innovative ideas and stifling the confidence of those people who feel left out.

Especially in the digital age where information can be shared more often and more freely, we have an opportunity and additional risk when it comes to including everyone’s opinion. For example, many companies use Slack for workplace communication. It’s convenient for distributed teams, people in different time zones, and helps cut down on email. Depending on how it’s used, it can be a tool for inclusion or exclusion. If the same few people are always piping up when it comes to contrary opinions, it could make it hard for others to feel like they could chime in since they might not be heard. However, if people see others voicing opinions without backlash, it might encourage them to feel empowered voicing theirs.

Diverse perspectives included in decision making

In addition to having their voices heard, people want to know that they matter when it comes to important decisions.

Culture Amp’s inclusion survey asks people to agree if:
Perspectives like mine are included in the decision making at my company

We found that Black women and Latinx women (with LGBTQ women in a close third) did not feel like their perspectives were included in decision making at their company.

Without proper representation in company decision making, the needs of these groups may be ignored. This is often the start of a cycle of bias that excludes these groups and makes it harder to hire a diverse group of employees.

Companies need to do more to include people in decision making. When making a decision, ask what people it’s going to affect, and ensure that you include diverse perspectives. Let’s say a new hire has joined who has experience working with people who are hard of hearing, but product design isn’t their main responsibility at work. If that person isn’t introduced to the right people, their expertise might not be tapped into, and their unique perspective is lost.

Fair opportunities for success

Radical pay transparency, abolishing performance reviews, and eliminating gender wage gaps are all great strides towards creating fair opportunities for success. However, programs like these are not one-size-fits-all for today’s companies.

No matter how it’s approached, there must be equal opportunities for success for all people.

Culture Amp’s inclusion survey asks:
People from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed at my company

Again, our data showed that Black women and LGBTQ women did not feel this was true. Here, we also see lower agreement scores from Black men and LGBTQ men.

Examining pay equity and promotion rates/velocity openly at your company is a great way to evaluate where people from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed. Pay equity shows how people of different genders/races or other demographics are compensated, while promotion rates look at how often those groups level up compared to each other, and promotion velocity gives you an indication of how long it takes different people to level up. If people are feeling like opportunities are unequal, this is the first step in understanding why that might be the case.

Why inclusion and belonging matter most

All of these findings tell us one thing—it’s not enough to hire diverse employees, you have to create an environment of inclusion and belonging. Certainly, it’s important to increase minority representation in all organizations. However, our data does not show clear links between the amount of representation in an organization and their perception of company or team diversity.

This means that the actions organizations take when it comes to things like voice, decision making, and fairness, are important no matter how many people of a certain group are at your company.

Get more details in Culture Amp’s 2018 Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality report.

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